MSD is currently building a customer-centric organisation in Denmark. In taking a large step away from the traditional product-centric views, MSD is building stronger partnerships with institutions in the Oresund region.
Recent changes in the pharmaceutical industry including budget restraints highlight the insistent need for increased Customer Centricity. MSD Denmark has adopted a new approach focusing more on the actual needs of core customers, in addition to providing scientific information to treating clinicians.
“Our customer landscape is changing. Today, the health care system is centralised with expansive public organisations, and therefore we are increasingly moving away from the traditional approach where the customers are individual physicians, to a more focused approach”, says Anita Bruhin, Managing Director MSD Denmark.
The overall aim is to assist customers in the process of creating better, more efficient practices throughout the entire healthcare apparatus at an acceptable cost.
Customer Centricity in action
The shift in decision making power brings a new challenge to all pharmaceutical companies in that it requires a new ways of dealing with customers and a new market approach. This will take some time to implement. Anita Bruhin explains:
“For me, Customer Centricity can be comprised in three words: i) Our customers: we have a much stronger focus on nontraditional customers such as national/regional payer organisations, public research institutions and university hospitals. Today all these stakeholders are key influencers on the health care system. They are extremely professional and have access to extensive registry and patient data. This demands of us that we constantly improve our ability to demonstrate the medical benefit & novelty of our solutions. ii) Our Solutions: our customers are less interested in one particular product, and more in the solutions we can offer to meet a specific need –it’s about the value we can bring to the patients and the overall healthcare system. And iii) together: to be able to develop the right solutions, and to demonstrate value which makes a difference, we must understand the needs and the challenges our customers face and the objectives they want to achieve. We can only obtain this by working closely together with our customers; it is about identifying solutions together with our customers in true partnerships. This is not done overnight, but we are definitely moving in the right direction.”
The new customer-centric business model will bring several advantages. It will for example strengthen MSDs partnerships with public institutions. This becomes evident through a new collaboration project with the Danish Capital Region and University of Copenhagen, which in itself is a perfect example of Customer Centricity in action. The partnership includes a five-year framework agreement with focus on improving clinical research and public health in the region.
MSD is also part of the so called NEXT-project, which is in fact the world’s first national cooperation between public hospitals, universities and the pharmaceutical industry to offer new treatments to cancer patients, for whom treatment has been given up.
The project is an attempt to create a better framework for early clinical research in Denmark. For MSD, the collaboration emphasizes the tangible value of private – public partnerships. It may entail a significant leap forward through the pooling of knowledge with some of the world’s most prominent researchers in oncology, according to Anita Bruhin.
Better treatments in Oncology
MSD Denmark is a subsidiary of the global Merck & Co., Inc., and as such the company shares the global leader’s vision of creating a better world through better healthcare. There are many interesting projects in MSDs portfolio and the new cancer treatment Keytruda is one of them.
After being approved by the FDA in USA as the first treatment in its class, Keytruda is ready for approval in the EU and the rest of the world. Keytruda is aimed at patients with advanced melanoma, which is one of the fastest spreading cancer types in the region and may in fact prove to be a game changer in cancer treatment, as it enables the patient’s immune system to fight the disease. Although it is still early days for Keytruda, researchers have found over 30 different indications (cancer types) for which the drug may have treatment potential.
“What makes Keytruda different from its predecessors is that it takes control of the PD-1 Pathway and provides a new potential target to immunotherapy. This could change the lives of a very large number of people,” concludes Anita Bruhin.
MSD (Merck in the USA and Canada) is headquartered in New Jersey, USA, and is operating in more than 140 countries, with a focus on pharmaceuticals, vaccines, biologics and animal health. The company has been operating since 1851 and employs approx. 76,000 people worldwide.